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When facing an arrest for drug possession, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount and type of substance. However, there are some instances where the charges could be elevated to aggravated drug possession. These offenses are serious and involve aggravating factors, such as possession of drugs to distribute or having drugs close to a school. Generally, these offenses are felonies and will carry more stringent penalties than a typical drug possession charge. Find out what you can expect if you have been arrested for an aggravated drug possession charge in Ohio.

Drug Possession in Ohio

Like all states, it is illegal to possess controlled substances in Ohio. When a person is arrested, they will either face drug possession or an aggravated drug possession charge. The state has several drug schedules, ranging from Schedule I to V. The list classifies drugs according to their potential for abuse, medical usage, and the possibility of dependence. 

These drug schedules include:

  • Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous. They have no accepted medical uses and carry a higher potential for abuse. 
  • Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse, and they are known to cause physical or physiological dependence. Drugs like oxycodone and codeine can be issued with a prescription, but they must be monitored under a physician’s care. 
  • Schedule III drugs are used in the medical industry. They have a lower potential for abuse and often will not cause dependency. 
  • Schedule IV drugs are similar to Schedule III, with a lower potential for abuse. 
  • Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and dependency. 

When a person has controlled possession of a Schedule III through V drug, they may face a drug possession charge. However, under O.R.C. 2925.11, drug possession becomes aggravated when the individual has a mixture, compound, or substance classified as Schedule I or II. Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, LSD, and hashish are exceptions to that statute. 

What Are Aggravating Factors in a Drug Possession Case?

Several factors can lead to an aggravated charge, including:

  • Possession of a large amount of drugs
  • Possession of drugs near a school or park
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or needles
  • Possession of drugs with the intent to sell or distribute
  • Possession of drugs while carrying a firearm or other dangerous weapon
  • Possession of drugs in a manner that creates a risk of harm to others, such as driving under the influence of drugs
  • Prior drug convictions or history of drug-related offenses

What Is the Sentence for Aggravated Drug Possession? 

These penalties can vary, depending on several factors. The lowest charge is a fifth-degree felony, carrying a year in jail and a fine. For those charged with a third- to first-degree offense, mandatory incarceration with a conviction is possible. 

Reach Out to Our Ohio Drug Possession Legal Team Today

Whether charged with drug possession or an aggravated offense, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your options. At Hunt Law LLC, we have over a decade of experience defending individuals charged with drug possession crimes throughout Ohio. Give us a call at 330-469-9836 to schedule your free consultation today!